There have been so many wonderful resources that have helped teachers realize the potential for, and the benefits of, student blogging. Comments4Kids is a great place to begin sorting through suggested class blogs, especially if you have the time to read the work of individual students. ‘The proof is in the pudding’ when you realize how great it is to see students’ thoughts shared with the world, willing and waiting to hear feedback from you.
Some other great resources:
- Student Blogging Resources from Pernille Ripp (Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension)
- 6 Tips for Quality Student Blogging by Gary Johnston
This week was the beginning of a new semester at our school, and my students’ first task was to create their own blog. Their blogs will act as digital portfolios: a place to collect their work, describe their projects, to reflect and to analyze.
Although my students were fairly receptive to the idea of blogging, I still explained my reasons for asking them to create their own digital portfolios. I think that with any big change, students feel respected if their teacher justifies decisions made on their behalf. To help me keep track of these reasons, I thought I’d jot down a few for the benefit of anyone else who might be considering the use of student blogs (or for parents, school boards, etc.):
- Increased opportunities to use technology
- Parents & guardians have the chance to explore their child(ren)’s work, and can even provide feedback by leaving a comment
- Students might give a bit more thought to improving their work if they have a larger audience (spelling, grammar)
- Students are free to be curious and explore the work of their peers
- Peer assessment is possible by encouraging them to comment on another student’s work
- Students have the chance to voice their opinions and make suggestions because they know their teacher is willing to provide feedback
- By checking their stats (or by using a ClustrMap), students are motivated by the number of people that look at their work
Usually most of the changes we make in our classrooms are centred on student achievement, increasing chances of success based on a variety of skills and needs, and by providing new opportunities for each of our learners. Well, aren’t we learners too? We still have improvements to make, and our work skills also need attention.
By making fun of my desk (a.k.a. “The Abyss”) while talking with my students about my reasons for blogging, a thought struck me. My lack of organization (my messy desk) was a major reason that I wanted to pursue blogging with my students. By asking them to improve their work skills by documenting their work, by recording their thoughts and by taking pictures of their progress, I was attacking one of my worst faults. I want to make sure that they never have to search for their work again. They will always have a record of what they did, even if the hard copy goes missing. Even though students may still sit down and lecture me on my messy desk (and, in sympathy, offer to tidy it up), they won’t panic if they don’t find their work right away. EUREKA!
We all have weaknesses. It’s hard to admit. It sure is wonderful when we find ways to get a little big stronger. 🙂
(c) Colleen Rose